Crow’s Nest — December 20, 2018

Park University wins NAIA women’s volleyball championship

After splitting a pair of five-set matches during the season, it was only fitting that when No. 2 Park University met No. 3 Columbia (Mo.) College in the title match of the NAIA Women’s Volleyball National Championship on a snowy night in Sioux City, Iowa, on Dec. 1, the match not only went five sets, but the final set had to go into extra play.

The Pirates (36-1) avenged their only loss during the season (in the American Midwest Conference tournament championship) by defeating the Cougars, 3-2 (19-25, 25-15, 17-25, 25-20, 16-14). The victory gave Park its second national title to go along with the 2014 championship when the Pirates ended season with a perfect 40-0 record.

Nada Meawad was named the national tournament Most Valuable Player, while head coach Mike Talamantes was named Coach of the Year. Celina Monteiro was named the tournament’s Defender of the Year, and Danna Gomes and Maren Roper were also named to the All-Tournament Team. Read more about the championship at

Brown Appointed Dean of Park’s College of Management

Kirby R. Brown, who recently retired after 40 years of military and federal service, has been appointed as the dean of Park University’s College of Management. Brown starts in his new role at Park on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. As the dean of the College of Management, Brown will be the chief administrative, fiscal and academic officer of the College. He will be responsible for implementing the College of Management’s policies and procedures in concert with the University’s policies, as well as the strategic, programmatic, financial and management operations that support the mission of the College and its role within the University.

Brown completed his federal career as a member of the Senior Executive Service with Department of Defense equivalency to a major general. Prior to joining Park, he served as the deputy to the commanding general for the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., since 2012. In that role, Brown was the chief operation officer for the Center’s global operations, which is composed of four major subordinate organizations, eight Centers of Excellence, 17 schools and 33,000 employees. During his tenure, Brown orchestrated the transition of the disparate schools into a university construct and served as the lead for the professional education of the Army’s 275,000 civilian employees. Read more about Brown at

Meawad, Talamantes, Gomes Earn NAIA National Honors

Just days after Park University won the NAIA Women’s Volleyball National Championship, the NAIA announced that sophomore outside hitter Nada Meawad was named the NAIA Player of the Year, while head coach Mike Talamantes was honored as the NAIA Coach of the Year. In addition, senior setter Danna Gomes earned first team All-America honors. Meawad had 471 kills on the season (20th nationally, averaging 4.32 per set (7th nationally) and hitting .347 (13th nationally). Gomes had 1,343 sets on the season (tied for 12th nationally), averaging 11.5 per set (2nd nationally). Talamantes led the Pirates to a 36-1 record, avenging its only loss to Columbia (Mo.) College in the NAIA national title match. Talamantes has won five national volleyball championships with the Pirates, including the 2014 women’s volleyball title when the Pirates went a perfect 40-0, and three men’s volleyball National Invitational Tournament championships in 2012, 2014 and 2017. Read more about the honors at

Park Campuses Hold Commencement Ceremonies

Park University campuses across the country have held commencement ceremonies for 2018 graduates. As these ceremonies continue into 2019, we’ll include the link to the news releases announcing the list of graduates at each campus.
          •  Charleston (S.C.) Air Force Base Campus
          •  Kansas City Area
                 Video of ceremony
                 o  Ron Blumkin, chairman of Nebraska Furniture Mart, keynote address

Faculty, Staff, Student News

Kay Barnes, senior director for university engagement, was named the 2018 Kansas Citian of the Year by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce on Nov. 20, at fittingly, the Kay Barnes Ballroom at the Kansas City Convention Center. Barnes, who served as mayor of Kansas City, Mo., from 1999-2007, championed a renaissance of Kansas City’s downtown. The award honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the city. An article about Barnes and the award appeared in the Kansas City Business Journal as well in Grow KC, the chamber’s magazine (page 15). In addition, watch the tribute video about Barnes from the awards event.

Siabhan May-Washington, ’06, Ed.D., adjunct instructor of education, was appointed president of St. Teresa’s Academy in Kansas City, Mo., on Dec. 13. She will begin her duties in July 2019. STA is a 152-year-old Catholic, college preparatory high school for young women. A story about May-Washington and her new job appeared in The Kansas City Star on Dec. 14.

An article authored by Robert Kao, Ph.D., associate professor of economics, and Naseem Al Rahahleh, Ph.D., adjunct instructor of finance, was published in the Journal of Risk and Financial Management on Nov. 28. The article, “Forecasting Volatility: Evidence from the Saudi Stock Market,” evaluated the forecasting performance of linear and non-linear generalized autoregressive conditional heteroskedasticity–class models in terms of their in-sample and out-of-sample forecasting accuracy for the Tadawul All Share Index and the Tadawul Industrial Petrochemical Industries Share Index for petrochemical industries.

An article authored by Jolene Lampton, Ph.D., associate professor of accounting, was published in the December issue of the Journal of Accounting and Finance. The article, “Using GVV Methodologies in Accounting Ethics Engages Students in Higher-Order Thinking,” shows how this thinking is nurtured to create a culture for ethical operations in organizations, especially in the post-Enron era.

Silvia Giovanardi Byer, Ph.D., professor of modern languages and chair of English and modern languages, presented a session on “Prendili per la Gola” at the South Atlantic Modern Language Association Conference, Nov. 3 in Birmingham, Ala. Byer’s presentation integrated study abroad and language acquisition. She also spoke at a panel offered for doctoral candidates seeking job opportunities.

University Receives Grant From Missouri Humanities Council

Park University has received a $2,500 grant from the Missouri Humanities Council in support of the University’s Spencer Cave Black History Month Lecture Series. The MHC is the only Missouri agency devoted exclusively to humanities education for citizens of all ages. It has been a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities since 1971. The 2019 Spencer Cave Black History Month Lecture, the 18th in the annual series, will be held Monday, Feb. 25, at the Gem Theater in Kansas City, Mo., in partnership with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the National Archives at Kansas City. Dr. Arnold Rampersad, professor emeritus at Stanford University, will speak on Jackie Robinson, whose 100th birthday will be celebrated in 2019.

Park in the News

Stories about the championship rally held for the Park University women’s volleyball team on the Parkville Campus on Dec. 3 aired on KMBC-TV, KSHB-TV, WDAF-TV and KMBZ-FM. Featured in interviews were Mike Talamantes, head coach, and players Danna Gomes and Nada Meawad.

Cynthia Levin, ’77, producing artistic director of the Unicorn Theatre in Kansas City, Mo., was featured in a story that appeared on the KCUR-FM website on Nov. 16, as well as a nearly 50-minute audio interview as part of KCUR’s “Portrait Sessions.”

Tamah Rivers, ’16, was featured in a story that appeared in The Island Packet (newspaper in Bluffton, S.C.) on Nov. 23. Rivers went to federal prison 19 years ago after some bad choices, and after being released in 2005, she worked to get her life on track. She now owns an appliance store in Beaufort, S.C.

Ben Zibers, director for student engagement, was interviewed for a story that aired on KSHB-TV in Kansas City on Nov. 28 related to the esports gaming industry in the Kansas City region. The story also featured Park’s new esports space being built on the Parkville Campus.

Matt Harris, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science, was interviewed for a story that aired on WDAF-TV in Kansas City on Dec. 4 related to a political action committee trying to undo part of a new law related to redistricting in Missouri.

Harris was also interviewed for a story that aired on KSHB-TV in Kansas City on Dec. 19 related to the number of state lawmakers in Kansas switching political parties.

An article about Gregory Whittaker, ’06, being named the 2018 Agent of the Year for the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services appeared in the Jasper County (S.C.) Sun Times on Dec. 4.

Brian Hoffman, Ph.D., professor of biology, provided comments for a story that appeared in the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press on Dec. 8. The article was related to concerns still exist related to a possible flu pandemic.

Park University was highlighted in the December/January issue of The National, the onboard publication for Amtrak. A couple of paragraphs about Park appear in the “Destination Kansas City” special supplement (begins on page 81). Park President Greg Gunderson, Ph.D., provided comments for the article.

ECCO Select, led by Jeanette Prenger, ’09, president and founder, and the vice chair of Park University’s Board of Trustees, was ranked No. 14 on Ingram’s (a Kansas City business magazine) list of the top area women-owned businesses, based on 2017 gross revenue.

Park University was ranked as having the No. 1 Master of Business Administration program in the Kansas City area by the Kansas City Business Journal on Nov. 30. The ranking was based on fall 2018 enrollment. The KCBJ also ranked Park No. 4 on its list of the top Kansas City area colleges and universities, based on total local fall 2018 enrollment.

Upcoming Events

(All events are Central time)
          •  December 24-25 — Christmas Holiday (all University offices closed)
          •  January 1 — New Year’s Day Holiday (all University offices closed)
          •  January 14 — Spring Semester / Spring I Term Begins
          •  January 19 — International Center for Music Concert: Pianist Behzod Abduraimov, 7:30 p.m., 1900 Building, Mission Woods, Kan.
          •  January 21 — Martin Luther King Day Holiday (all University offices closed; Parkville Daytime classes cancelled; Spring I classes held as scheduled)
          •  January 22 — Year of Engagement Documentary Series: “Inventing Tomorrow,” 6 p.m., David Theater (Alumni Hall)
          •  January 29 — Kansas Day Event: The Oceans of Kansas, 6 p.m., National Archives at Kansas City, Kansas City, Mo.
          •  February 9 — International Center for Music Concert: Violinist Ben Sayevich and Pianist Lolita Lisovskaya-Sayevich, 7:30 p.m., 1900 Building, Mission Woods, Kan.
          •  February 11 — Year of Engagement Documentary Series: “The Jazz Ambassadors, 6 p.m., David Theater (Alumni Hall)
          •  February 18 — President’s Day Holiday (all University offices closed; Parkville Daytime classes cancelled; Spring I classes held as scheduled)
          •  February 25 — Spencer Cave Black History Month Lecture: Dr. Arnold Rampersad on Jackie Robinson, 7 p.m., Gem Theater, Kansas City, Mo.

Note: To view a comprehensive schedule for all events, including athletics and student life, visit



Park University’s degree programs are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Park University is a private, non-profit, institution of higher learning since 1875.